The Brag Media
News June 7, 2023

Annabelle Herd Hits Out at ‘Indefensible’ Radio Caps

Editorial Operations Manager
Annabelle Herd Hits Out at ‘Indefensible’ Radio Caps

The current caps on what radio stations have to pay musicians and labels for the music they play are “indefensible”, according to PPCA and ARIA CEO, Annabelle Herd.

PPCA along with former radio industry body boss CEO Joan Warner are currently leading a lobbying effort to remove the caps, which would force radio stations to pay the music industry more.

Herd also took aim at the salaries of some radio broadcasters, given the nominal amount it pays to artists.

“The Australian music industry cannot afford to continue subsidising a highly profitable industry like this, particularly given a single radio station can afford to pay one broadcaster a higher annual salary than the entire music industry receives from all commercial radio stations combined,” she told TMN – presumably referencing Kiis FM’s Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ who have multi-million dollar contracts.

“Removing the indefensible caps across commercial radio and the ABC is a critical step toward giving Australian artists and labels, independent and major, a level playing field,” she added. “Artists globally are not subject to anything like Australia’s legislated restriction on the fair amount of royalties paid for use of recordings in their home market.

“At a time when the Australian music ecosystem is struggling to provide a sustainable career at home for our artists, this could not be more important.”

The current cap limits the amount Australian radio broadcasters are required to pay artists and labels to no more than 1% of the station’s gross annual revenue.

Data from PPCA indicates commercial radio paid approximately $4.4 million a year for all music sound recordings used in the 2022 financial year, and that the ABC pays approximately $136,000 per year for all sound recordings used across its radio networks.

Despite the cap being 1%, PPCA said commercial radio broadcasters currently pay an all-industry fee of 0.4% of gross industry revenue to PPCA. Globally, the industry body said, rates are around 1.5% to 4%.

It also cited numerous reviews which had endorsed the removal of the cap. In addition, in 2006, then Attorney General Phillip Ruddock announced the caps would be removed, but this never eventuated.

Herd said: “While PPCA will be handling all lobbying directly, we have an excellent team working on this, including Joan Warner who is providing us with valuable strategic advice.”

TMN understands the PPCA and Warner are currently securing meetings with the Attorney General and relevant ministers, and looking to launch the campaign properly in June with prominent artists.

In addition, it has launched proceedings in the Copyright Tribunal of Australia, where it will seek a determination on the appropriate and fair amount for royalty payments. Unless the existing 1% cap is removed from the legislation, however, the Tribunal will not be able to grant more than 1%, even if it determines a higher percentage would be a “fair fee”.

An accompanying petition calls on the House of Representatives to remove the broadcast radio caps on sound recordings from the Copyright Act, to ensure artists and rightsholders are paid fairly for the use of their music. It currently has 47 signatures.

Commercial Radio and Audio (CRA), which is responsible for the interests of commercial radio broadcasters, has not responded to requests for comment.


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